There were few real shockers during Apple’s marathon product launch on Wednesday. An iPhone revision. Check. (You can even update every year, thanks to a new Apple payment plan!) An overhaul of Apple TV that supports e-commerce applications. Over here. (Here’s a summary of everything paraded in San Francisco.)
Still, the company did manage to surprise attendees with one of its chosen on-stage guests, Microsoft. Then again, what better way to show off the business appeal of the biggest iPad ever than with a demo of Office applications in action? Microsoft’s tablet strategy has been underwhelming for years, a condition that inspired it to ask Dell and Hewlett-Packard for help selling Surface Pro. Let’s face it: all of these companies need to figure out some way to revive stagnating sales for this computing form factor. Why not hedge bets?
One facet of Wednesday’s event that inspired some social criticism, given high-tech’s ongoing diversity challenge: the scarcity of women on stage. That’s a perfect preamble for me to mention the publication this morning of Fortune‘s 2015 Most Powerful Women list.
Fierce Apple rival Google is one of two tech giants (six companies overall) with two executives on the ranking: Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat and YouTube CEO Susan Wojicki. The other company? One of Apple’s best friends, IBM.
TOP OF MIND
Chinese officials will meet with a who’s-who of tech executives. Microsoft is hosting an off-the-script forum with Internet czar Lu Wei in Seattle during President Xi Jinping’s state visit later this month. The White House isn’t exactly thrilled. Invitees include Apple, Facebook Google, IBM and Uber. (New York Times)
AMD gives special attention to graphics chips. It has created a separate division to recapture share in gaming and establish “leadership positions” in augmented and virtual reality applications. (Fortune)
Square targets fourth quarter for IPO. The board wants to follow through on its confidential filing over the summer even though CEO Jack Dorsey is still a candidate for the top job at Twitter. (Bloomberg)
Dell reiterates big investment in China. It will sink $125 billion in the country’s economy over the next five years, although that amount may be part of an earlier pledge. (Reuters)
Uber makes nice with Carnegie Mellon. It donated $5.5 million the university’s robotics department. Then again, it has poached plenty of its researchers over the past year. (Fortune)
Insurance software company Solera nears deal. It could go private in a $3.6 billion buyout, according to reports that identify Thoma Bravo and Vista Equity Partners among the final bidders. The Texas company disclosed it was studying “strategic alternatives” in mid-August. (BloombergBusiness)
IBM deal looms large for Box
If you consider the history of how long it takes for most technology partnerships to make a market impact, the ink on the alliance between IBM and Box is barely dry.
Financially speaking, their pact had very little impact on the cloud storage and collaboration company’s second quarter, which it reported Wednesday evening. That is, until you consider IBM is in the process of becoming one Box’s biggest corporate accounts. It shares that honor with Airbnb, Alcoa, Cushman & Wakefield, Lionsgate, Limited Brands, and Uber.
The expansive relationship covers built-in support for each other’s technologies, the creation of joint products, and a sales relationship. It’s not overstating things to describe IBM as Box’s most strategic partner. At least to date.
“The scale that they are putting toward this as well as the amount of investment we are doing to support it are consistent with that,” Box CEO Aaron Levie told Fortune after the company’s analyst briefing.
That said, while IBM and Box already make joint sales calls, don’t expect the union to have a “meaningful impact” until next year, Levie said. Considering that it can easily take three quarters for software companies to penetrate corporate accounts, that projection makes sense.
Even without IBM’s help in the field, Box officially passed the 50,000-customer mark during its second fiscal quarter, with more than 39 million registered users. Four of those deals were worth more than $500,000, while 33 contracts topped $100,000.
Box logged Q2 revenue of $73.5 million, up 43%. Its net loss was $50.1 million. Both of those metrics surpassed analysts’ expectations. The company boosted its financial guidance for the year: it now expects to generate $295 million to $297 million.
BITS AND BYTES
Intel drops sponsorship for prestigious competition. The Science Talent Search was established in 1942, and was originally backed by Westinghouse. (Times)
Netflix adds four Asian markets. After an initial foray into Japan, it’s prepping services for South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. (Journal)
Slack is already tracking diversity. Mostly the collaboration software startup faces the same shortcomings as bigger tech companies, although it does employ a relatively higher number of African-American engineers. (Wired)
Buh-bye, Amazon Fire. The ill-fated phone is out of stock, and the site’s product description suggests this could be a permanent condition. (Geekwire, Fortune)
California drone limits thwarted. Governor Jerry Brown vetoed legislation that would have required permission for flyovers. (Re/code)
Good security professionals are hard to find. Soon, it will become even harder. (Fortune)
MY FORTUNE BOOKMARKS
Tinder adds a “Super Like” button to let users show eagerness by Kia Kokalitcheva
NYU Professor: Marissa Mayer only has a job because she’s pregnant by Daniel Roberts
ONE MORE THING
More about the “Cyber Party” policy platform, created by eccentric software entrepreneur and newly declared Presidential candidate John McAfee. (Time)